Blog Post 1
For my Digital Entrepreneurship project, my initial idea was to go to my place of work Dr. Martens. At the moment, the company have multiple campaigns and projects going on that currently have no audio attached to them. The two projects that I wanted to follow are the ‘Made In England’ collection ( a selection of shoes that are made in the only English factory in Northamptonshire and made the exact same way as they were when they were first released back in the 1960s) or the ‘Worn Different’ campaign which show cases the many types of ways that the shoes have encompassed different people in all walks of life including musicians, sporting personalities, tattoo artists etc. I thought that these two campaigns would be interesting to follow because it would allow me to talk to people which is the main type of publicity that Dr. Martens gets – word of mouth.
On top of the fact that it is easily accessible to me, the brand themselves are also coming back into fashion with the classic boot, the 1460, being featured on multiple runways throughout fashion weeks across the world, putting the brand in the spotlight, with a 40% rise in sales over the last 3 years (Financial Times, 2017), which is shocking after the company almost went into readmission at the beginning of the century.
One part of my audio that I want to include is a tour of the English factory as it would make for actuality and make the piece come alive. Also for both ideas, it would be good to showcase the shoes as the people who work there tend to be in the same family line which would make for empathetic audio.
So far, I’ve looked into people that I would like to interview, with most being people who I work with but also including shoe artists as there are events specifically for people to go to to get their boots customised, but also fashion bloggers who each have a different sense of style. I would also like to interview Dr. Marten enthusiasts as they sell multiple different collections and collaborations ranging from Agnes Dean the model, to Stussy the streetwear brand.
I’ve also been reading multiple articles online, ranging from 1998 – 2017, of journalists trying to understand why they have become so popular and why they have stuck around as a statement piece. The pieces tend to be personal articles talking about the history and generally why they wanted them and what attracted them to the shoes when they were younger.
This week, I’ve been in talks with my store manager, Ross Hampton, who has been with the company for multiple years and worked his way up from sales assistant and is featured on the fashion side of the Dr Martens website.
Blog Post 2
This week I have an email confirmation of my commission from Dr. Martens whereby my boss Ross Hampton, has given me some ideas as to what he would like me to create. He is fully behind the idea of me creating three different parts as it allows the audience to choose which part of the company the listener/customer would like to explore further to gain more knowledge about it. The screen shot of the confirmation is below, as the majority of this is commission has been done via face to face communications and meetings when I’m at work.
For the last couple of weeks, I have also been listening to other audio to decide how I want it to sound. From my listenings, I have decided on three 6 minute ‘podcast’ type audio pieces. The reason I’ve chosen this time limit is because it is a good time for the listener/customer to listen and engage with the company without getting bored. When speaking to Ross about my idea he did actually want it to be shorter, but I explained that if it was shorter it would not meet the brief for the assignment. I have decided that the three separate audio pieces will be on; the workers; the factory; and the custom designer. The only one that I may struggle with is the factory as I have to go up on a certain day with the company so I’m in the process of trying to chase that at the moment.
For the workers podcast, I have narrowed down my interviewees to 3/4, mainly due to friendly and different types of voices. First of all is Ross (my boss) as he has a calm tone of voice and also has a lot of experience in the company as he worked his way up from sales assistant to store manager. Then I would speak to my assistant manager, Eilis, as her sense of style is completely different to anyones’ I have ever met but also very typical to what you would expect Dr Martens to be. I would also interview Maeve, as her Welsh accent is friendly for customers but also the intonation of her accent makes for interesting listening. I would also interview Jack from the store, mainly to break up the male and female tones. In this segment I would ask them to describe their style and their favourite pair of shoes from the company and how they would wear them and how they would style them.
The custom designer I am in contact with through Instagram and hopefully I will be able to interview him while he customises a pair of my shoes from my collection and discuss why he thinks they are so popular, his favourite design that he’s done etc.
In order to inform me of this, the main piece of audio that I’ve listened to is Rachael Bird – Built To Last. What I particularly took inspiration from on this is the way she incorporated music into her piece. As music has been a big part of Dr Martens history, I think it’s important that I, not only include the right music, but incorporate it properly. Also, the way that she included history and personality into the piece is great and that’s what I want as it’s meant to be describing the company and those in it. Also, I thought that the way the audio crossed over between the interviewees worked really well and were seamlessly. However, this is one long piece of audio and I feel that mine will work well separately as all of her interviewees were based in and around the same parts of the shoe making process. I did like the incorporation of different brands throughout, but obviously I won’t be doing that.
Another piece that I have been listening to, which isn’t necessarily about shoes, is ‘Miss Perry Presents’. What I liked about this is the way she just chatted to people as if every interviewee was a good friend, like they were catching up for 10 minutes – it just sounded effortless and had so much character to it without the addition of music. When doing my interviews, I would like to be able to achieve this to make the customers feel that they are a part of the company and that they matter to it.
Blog Post 3
Since I’ve last written on this blog, things have changed. I managed to get all my audio for the first of the three mini podcasts for my audio piece for #WornDifferent for Dr Martens, but the audio wasn’t coming together in the way that I wanted it to sound. It was very stoic and everyone who I interviewed kept themselves to being workers of the company, not necessarily people who loved the shoes as well and it all just sounded very boring.
So, I have completely changed my idea. Instead of going with Dr Martens, I am now recording a piece of promotional audio for Poppy’s Children’s Centre in Herne Bay, Kent, who have a parent support group specifically for mothers who are between the ages of 16-19, with the aim to try and de-stigmatise the idea of teenage mothers. I have spoken with the group leader Kim, who was all for the idea and has invited me along to the group for a few weeks in a row, to come and speak to the girls in a group and individually.
The idea of this piece is to make society aware that being a young mother isn’t always the worst choice for some people and that young pregnancies aren’t always down to a mistake through drugs and alcohol as suggested by the media, mainly the MTV television programme “16 and Pregnant”.
I am to create a 18-20 minute piece, shedding light on what you have to go through in order to be a teenage mother by speaking to those who are going through it at the moment or have been through it. Initially speaking to Kim, she said that it feels like a safe space from society for the group where they feel they can share problems and stories without being judged, so I aim to show society that those who don’t know shouldn’t be judged, and those who are going through it shouldn’t be ashamed and that there are groups out there to help.
Below, you can see my initial running order of how I would like the audio to run.
This piece will involve narration by me to begin with to introduce the piece of audio and Poppy’s to the listener. The beginning narration aims to be simple, with no music background to make the audience listen to what’s happening and grab their attention, with a slight echo effect in addition to the voice. This piece will also use music to segway inbetween topics and discussions with people.
The audio will feature an interview with Kim, a group discussion over lunch and then following a day in the life of a teenage Mother, in order to show the audience that they are completely normal and that this type of childbirth should be celebrated as well. I am going to the group to record the interview with Kim, the group discussion, actuality of children playing and interacting with their mother, and interviews with some of the girls on 9th November and the following week I will go back to the group to get any further audio that I may have missed and also to go and complete the day in the life portion with one of the girls.
Blog Post 4
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been to the YAPs group twice to meet the girls and record audio. In the first week, I met the girls and familiarised myself with them and got the grips with what happens within the group and the dynamics and relationship between the girls. I also met with Kim and had a chat with her about what she would like it to include. She mentioned that she would like to help change society’s perception of young mothers and that she felt that by making a piece of audio advertising the group that it might help young mothers feel more confident in going out and being a mother. She also said that she’d like to hear the perspective of a young mother who didn’t have this group to see how hard she found it and luckily I happen to know one.
The first audio that I collected was a group interview, however, the girls weren’t particularly keen to speak as they were very wary of me and as soon as the microphone came out the talking stopped. However, I feel that if I am to get individual interviews then it would work better as they may not feel the pressure of talking about their experiences in front of other people. What else i got from this is that a lot of them would rather not have their real names included as they are younger and don’t want people to know them for this, which is fine so I can just change them when I add narration.
The second week I went back, I played the group the audio and asked them if they wanted any changes made to it or if they felt that they had any extra answers to give now that they’d had a week or so to think about it. A couple of changes were made but generally they were happy with it. I also got an individual interview with Kim, the leader of the group which gave me some great audio with some really good leading answers so that my next piece of audio can flow nicely, which is what I wanted.
I also got my interview with the once-was young parent who had a child (now 20) when she was 17 and what it was like for her and how she realised when she went on to have other children that she was treated differently for having a child at a young age. She also went on to tell personal experiences of how people treated her and anecdotes of how her young son would react to her going back to college when he was older which makes the audio more personable. The audio works really well with the theme because it shows that, although attitudes towards young parenthood is still negative, it has moved a long way since then and that the YAPs group is doing good for that community as when I ask the question “Would you have used the group if it were around then?”, she replied “Definitely. No doubt about it.”, which was the best response I could’ve asked for.
I have also picked my music which will be snippets of Rosemary and Garlic – I’m Here and Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Shine as they are both upbeat and easy pieces to listen to which works with what I’m trying to create.
Next week, I’ll make my final visit to YAPs to catch in action what the group can do, as in that week they are having a healthy meals lesson in which they’ll learn how to make 5 easy, cheap and healthy meals for their young families. Also, they will be discussing how to do Christmas on a budget, which all shows how helpful the group is being and will lead for some great actuality. I also hope to interview two of the girls there who always talk to me and ask them individually about YAPs and their experience of being a young parent i.e. how did you tell your parents, how did you tell the father, what was your initial thought, who found YAPs for you, what was you initial thoughts coming into the group and have they changed since being there etc. which will give a personable edit to the audio.
Blog Post 5
Over the last couple of weeks, I have been editing together my audio, into the style that I would like it to be in. I have been following my production plan so far, and it seems to be coming together nicely, but as I have been finishing it and listening back, I have been swapping around the audio slightly to make it flow better. For example, I have swapped the Hannah Wiles interview to come in earlier, as it worked better with Kim’s interview as she explains how much things have changed 20 years ago, and Hannah had her first child 20 years ago.
I have also been back for the last time to gain some actuality which worked really well as they are speaking about what to pack in a hospital bag as one of the girls is 8 months pregnant and unsure of what she should be taking with her, so the practical side of this works really well for the audio. I also managed to gain an interview with one of the girls, Lauren, about her pregnancy and her experience with being an young parent i.e. how she told her parents, how her relationships changed etc., which adds a personal feel to the audio.
As it was all organised over the phone, here is an email from Kim confirming that she has been happy with my work over the last month and is happy for me to use this group to make an audio piece for.
Blog Post 6
Last week we had tutorials in which we presented our rough cuts to have them critiqued. During the discussion we came to the conclusion that because I changed ideas a few weeks in, I didn’t have time to collect all the material necessary in the time limit, for example, it would’ve been great to have had an input from a young father about their experiences and how it may or may not differ from being a young mother and how they’ve experienced parenting, but the audio that I have is good and does meet the brief.
The things that were needed however was extra narration to move the story along and to add more music to make it more interesting. I also edited parts out as unfortunately some of the answers given didn’t quite make sense.
After I added these, I got someone else to listen to it and I sent it to Kim, the leader of the YAPs group to confirm that it was all good, which it was and then I submitted the audio to Soundcloud.
Overall, I feel that the process of making this audio piece went well, despite the change of idea a few weeks in. The piece that I wanted to make I felt was shared with Kim Burgess, the leader of the group, who was more than happy to help me out which was great. I feel however, if I’d had a bit more time with the group of mothers, the audio would’ve been better as I would’ve been able to build up more of a raport with them, meaning that they may have felt more comfortable with answering the questions. I feel that the interview with Hannah however was great, as we already knew each other so the interview was very casual and comfortable which is exactly how I wanted it to sound.